By Sean Mills Staff Writer
A Rome police officer has been suspended without pay for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident on Saturday.
This is the second suspension of an officer facing charges in two months.
Patrolman Clifford J. Baker Jr. was off-duty in his personal vehicle at 8:43 p.m. when he failed to yield the right of way at a yield sign at the intersection of Broadway and Floyd Avenue, according to Police Chief Kevin C. Beach. Baker pulled onto Floyd and was hit by an oncoming vehicle, who stopped and called 9-1-1.
But Baker left the scene. The other driver was later treated at Rome Memorial Hospital for back and neck pain.
"He did leave the scene prior to police arrival," Beach stated. An investigation was started, and Baker later contacted the chief about his involvement. Beach said Baker was immediately suspended without pay, pending an internal investigation.
"We do have policy and procedure in place to deal with off-duty conduct. We are taking this matter extremely seriously," Beach stated.
"It’s embarrassing. It’s a black eye on the department. I have preached accountability since I took on this position in the department."
Beach said Baker has been ticketed for failure to yield and leaving the scene of an accident.
The chief said Baker will also undergo an internal disciplinary investigation, and a disciplinary hearing will be held to determine any departmental violations and punishments. The case will also be investigated by the District Attorney’s Office.Baker is an 8-year veteran of the department, having joined in January 2006.
Beach said he has personally reached out to the other driver in the crash, and assured him "that proper steps have been taken to address this situation."
Baker is the second officer suspended from the department in as many months. Authorities said Patrolman Jeffrey M. Sanders was charged with assault after a bar fight in Camden on Nov. 28.
Beach said Sanders was suspended without pay, then chose to resign from the department on Dec. 19.